The Beatles in Perspective - A Carnival of Light - James McGrath

The Beatles in Perspective - A Carnival of Light - James McGrath

1. "Where You Once Belonged": Class, Race and Liverpool Roots of Lennon and McCartney’s Songs

The Beatles in Perspective - A Carnival of Light - James McGrath

James McGrath [+-]
Leeds Beckett University
James McGrath is Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Leeds Beckett University, UK. He completed his doctoral thesis on the work of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and his first book Naming Adult Autism: Culture, Science, Identity was published by Rowman & Littlefield International in 2017. His poems have been published in various literary periodicals.

Description

While Lennon and McCartney’s class affiliations are ambiguous to degrees that should remain debatable, the depth and the detail in which working-class life defines their work have been overlooked, thus misrepresenting The Beatles’ cultural significance. As Collins (2012) critiques, initial New Left criticisms of The Beatles – almost exclusively in response to one composition, ‘Revolution’ (1968) – have recently been adapted by commentators eager to portray The Beatles as a culturally and politically conservative force. I argue that early Left-wing and recent Right-wing criticisms of The Beatles’ legacy are misleading, because both overlook Lennon and McCartney’s different relationships to working-class culture. I also emphasize an importantly related, even more marginalized aspect of The Beatles’ history: the significance of black musical and cultural influences from Liverpool. The article seeks to offer new interpretations of songs including ‘Norwegian Wood’, ‘A Day in the Life’, ‘Revolution’, ‘Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da’ and ‘Working Class Hero’

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Citation

McGrath, James. 1. "Where You Once Belonged": Class, Race and Liverpool Roots of Lennon and McCartney’s Songs. The Beatles in Perspective - A Carnival of Light. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 13-34 Jul 2023. ISBN 9781800502420. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=25026. Date accessed: 25 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.25026. Jul 2023

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